My name is
Danny and

I love discovering whimsy in visual design. I work at Simple Machine, where I design UI for mobile games because I like how games inspire playful interactions. Other things that I find inspiring include cosplay, Dungeons and Dragons, and poetry.

You can reach me at dannydotpink@gmail.com.


stuff
I made

with the help from the lovely team at Simple Machine :)

1

pop the lock 2

Mobile Game

Visual Designer
2019

Pop the Lock 2
Calculator 2

2

Calculator 2: The GAME

Mobile Game

Developer
Visual Designer
2019

3

Word Wings

Mobile Game

Developer
Visual Designer
2019

Word Wings
_-_

4

_-_

Mobile Game

Developer
Visual Designer
2018

little bit
about me

Hi!
I’m Danny and I’m a queer Asian-American designer living and working in New York City.
I attended Parsons, School of Design and graduated with a BFA in Design and Technology with a focus in Game Design. I’ve been making games at Simple Machine for the past 2 years, and during my time there I started to discover I had a latent passion for visual design and UX design.
Recently, I’ve started to nurture that passion and ask for more visual design tasks and projects from my team. I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like I’ve finally found something that sparks my inner fire.
When I’m not working, I’m constantly looking at other artists and designers on Behance and reading their blogs on Medium. I’ll find design challenges and inspiration in my everyday hobbies. I’m still honing my skills, but one day I hope to shine as bright as the design community.

Here’s some other cool stuff I’ve worked on:

TOUCH a game-like tool created to facilitate conversations around body positivity and consensual touch with kids in India.

Are Aligned , a multiplayer musical party game in virtual reality with the team at Viacom.

Books are Hard to Draw, a comic.

stuff
I made

with the help from the lovely team at Simple Machine :)

1

pop the lock 2

Mobile Game

Visual Designer
2019

Pop the Lock 2
Calculator 2

2

Calculator 2: The GAME

Mobile Game

Developer
Visual Designer
2019

3

Word Wings

Mobile Game

Developer
Visual Designer
2019

Word Wings
_-_

4

_-_

Mobile Game

Developer
Visual Designer
2018

resume

You can download it here.

Pop the Lock 2

Mobile Game

Overview

In 2019, Simple Machine wanted to release a sequel to Pop the Lock, with new game mechanics and fresh visuals. I was tasked with creating the visual identity and user interface. During this project, I collaborated with our lead developer and artists to implement these designs.

Role

Visual Designer

Duration

4 months

Team

2 Developers
1 3D Artist
1 Visual Designer
1 2D Artist

Sketches, Moodboards, Color Palettes, and Original Game Screenshots.

Making Old Feel New

The most difficult balance was staying true to the original while still reinventing it. Multiple ideas were considered before the team and I landed on the final design. The visuals were inspired by carnivals, arcade cabinets, and HQ Trivia.

First Design Iteration
Stuck with primary colors that were used in the original.
Retro color schemes and flat design.

Second Design Iteration
Went in the other direction to make it more modern.
Lots of gradients.

The circular elements of the original game were referenced and eventually became the dot patterns and bubble shapes present throughout the game.

Final Design Iteration
Came to a middle ground between the first and second designs.

Process

The visual identity was created through cycles of ideation. Drafts were passed between me and my lead designer daily to fine-tune the ideas.

Coming from a developer background myself, it helped to use my knowledge of what was and wasn’t possible within our pipeline to inform my designs.

The most impactful takeaway I got from the process was learning how to communicate my ideas more effectively to the rest of the team.

Early User Interface Flows
Relied on Sequential screenshots with no text.

Updated User Interface Flows
Added highlights, call outs, and text.

I added these call outs to clarify and highlight any points that I figured might be confusing or wouldn’t be clear from just a visual.

Designing value and rarity into a game was another highlight.

It's fun to see how much you can convey using only color palettes.

Outcomes

I thrive in team-oriented projects where multiple sources of feedback, different skill sets, and diverse voices are involved in the process.

Communication through many channels was what pushed this project forward.

Calculator 2:
The Game

Mobile Game

Overview

While working on bug fixes for the original game, our team thought it would be a great idea to make a sequel. It started out as just a new mode for the original and eventually became Calculator 2:The Game. I was tasked with developing and designing what would become Calculator 2: The Game.

Role

Developer
Visual Designer

Duration

2 months

Team

1 Developer
1 Visual Designer
1 2D Artist
1 Level Designer
1 Game Designer

Challenges

Because we didn’t have a dedicated visual designer or narrative designer, I offered to help with those roles for this project. This made prioritizing tasks for this project tricky.

I worked with the team on these aspects of the game.
On the right is the joke I'm most proud of.

Designing a Tool

When I saw the pre-existing level editing process, I knew there was some improvement that could be done to make it easier and more fun. With the help of my team, I built an internal level creator tool. Because our level designer already had her own system of building levels, creating something new that still aligned with her workflow was extremely important.

Pictured on the left is what level design looked like before.
On the right is the interface I built into the game for our level designer to use.

Creating a Character

Adding a character to the experience really elevated it from other games on the market. I still get emails about how much people love the dialogue and jokes you get to share with Dot.
People connect to these unique moments.

This is Dot! The AI living inside Calculator 2.
She is overly positive and loves both pie and pi.

Player Response

This was the most fun I’ve had working on a game. Being involved in a lot of different aspects of it really made me invested in its outcome. We used this game to grow our Discord Server. It became a place for players to discuss and chat about the puzzles, help each other out, and even ask us questions. It was very rewarding seeing something I worked on have a personal impact on people.

Word Wings

Mobile Game

Overview

Word Wings is a remake of Lex, an old Simple Machine game. It’s a fast-paced word game that encourages players to make shorter words in a smaller time frame. I was tasked with remaking this game to match our new portfolio of games and to fit in with the current landscape of word games.

Role

Developer
Visual Designer

Duration

3 months

Team

1 Developer
1 Visual Designer
1 Game Designer
1 3D Artist

Taking inspiration from popular word games like Words with Friends and Wordscapes, I designed the visual direction and user interface for Word Wings. I was both the lead developer and lead designer on this project, with outside feedback from my senior.

Original Lex with its current competitors is shown on the left.
My first pass at a redesign is on the right.

"Keep It Simple"

Keeping the interface simple while still informative was the biggest challenge in this project. There were key features we wanted players to be aware of, such as distance, speed, letters left, score, and level. Making these features prominent enough to be recognizable while still complementing the world behind it was a delicate balance.

Building a World

Our team decided we wanted to create a world that would better help players visualize the gameplay mechanics. This idea manifested into a bird that represents the player. The worlds that showed progress and speed.

3D was an area that I was not familiar with, so I had to leverage basic polygons and colors to create an aesthetic that players could attach themselves to. It was better to do something simple well than to try and do something complex badly.

Color palettes on the left really changed the mood of each world.
On the right were some ideas for how to build the world with polygons.

Who is the User?

The most impactful takeaway I had while working on this project was how critical it is to identify a user beforehand. We were designing a fast-paced word game, it was difficult to determine who this game was for; people who like taking time to play word games, or people who like action games. The lack of user clarity made designing a visual identity for the game difficult. The final product found its own niche of players in the end, but knowing who they were before would have informed a lot of our design decisions.

Some visual choices we made that made it lean more towards action game.

_-_

Mobile Game

Overview

_-_ (underscore dash underscore) was the first game that I worked on at Simple Machine. It was handed to me as a prototype by my senior developer and acted as an onboarding process for me into the company. I was responsible for the visual design and development.

Role

Developer
Visual Designer

Duration

3 months

Team

2 Developers
1 Visual Designer
1 Game Designer

Sketches and ideas I was running through with my senior developer to better understand the game.

Learn Quickly, Ask Questions

The biggest challenge of this project was learning how to take a prototype that was worked on by someone else and making it my own. There was code I was unfamiliar with, plugins I had to learn, and visuals I wanted to improve. I had to learn very quickly and had to not be afraid to ask questions.

Different visual iterations.

Process

Once I got comfortable with the codebase, I started rewriting parts of it to better serve our game. The visuals and sound came next. Because of how simple the game was, I was excited to focus more attention on tuning up the audio experience.

A musical idea I had explored for a bit. It ended up informing the audio choices that were chosen in the final product.

Designing Zen

I designed the game to feel zen. I used bright, simple colors, and soothing sounds. My inspiration came from breathing exercises and meditation apps. We wanted _-_ to be a game you could get lost in, without thinking.

Color choices that felt zen to me.

Universal Design

After designing this game and seeing the feedback and reception, I realized how important designing for different locale can be. Because this game featured no text, people from all over the world were able to learn it and latch on to it. As a designer, you might have one user in mind when designing, but the reception could be from a totally different audience than you expected.

Apple Features

Outcome

As I was developing this game, I realized I had a natural interest and inclination towards visual design and user interface. I didn’t know it when I developed this game, but I was setting myself up for more visual design down the line.

aries sun
taurus moon
aries rising

mardu

centaur barbarian - lawful good
half-elf monk - chaotic good

plants